HAPPENING TODAY: Adrian Lewis, accused of killing his wife Shanita Eure-Lewis, had a court appearance in Newport News at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
WAVY’s Andy Fox was in the courtroom and reports that Lewis appeared by video in Newport News JDR court. He received a court appointed attorney. His next hearing is scheduled for September 23.
Look for updates throughout the day on WAVY TV 10 and WAVY.com.
Watch the full Tuesday afternoon briefing from NNPD Chief Drew below.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew held a press conference Tuesday afternoon confirming the news no one wanted to hear. The search for 35-year-old Shanita Eure-Lewis has been reclassified from a missing persons case to a homicide.
Chief Drew said Adrian Lewis, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, in the death of his wife Shanita Eure-Lewis. Her family reported her missing Sunday after they were unable to contact her. She left church Sunday morning around 9 a.m. between services with plans to return, but never did, police said.
Police took Adrian Lewis into custody at Dulles International Airport early Tuesday morning. Mr. Lewis had a plane ticket bound for Jamaica. He is being held in Loudoun County, but has a court appearance via video Wednesday morning in Newport News.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assisted in the arrest. Federal agents initially located Lewis at the airport Monday around 10:45 a.m. and detained him. When Newport News Police detectives arrived around 1:30 p.m. they were informed that agents had searched Lewis’ luggage and found his wife’s passport and credit cards.
Lewis refused to speak with detectives without an attorney present. At 4:10 a.m. Tuesday, he was served with the arrest warrant.
“This case illustrates how Customs and Border Protection officers and Homeland Security Investigations agents collaborate with our law enforcement partners to catch allegedly dangerous fugitives and return them to stand for their charges,” said Daniel Escobedo, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C.
Police arrested him on the totality of the evidence, even though they don’t have a body and he has not confessed.
Chief Drew said they have a few key areas where they are looking for Eure-Lewis. “My number one priority is to bring Mrs. Eure-Lewis home to her family,” he said. Police are not requesting the public’s help in order to preserve evidence.
The criminal complaint in this case reveals a timeline prior to Mr. Lewis’ arrest. It states that on July 5, Eure-Lewis told her husband she wanted a divorce. On July 14, she reportedly removed all the guns from their Newport News home and took them to her sister’s home. She also left her two children with her sister until early Sunday morning, July 17, when both Eure-Lewis and her husband reportedly went to pick them up. That was around 1:30 a.m.
At 9:40 a.m. court records state that Eure-Lewis’ sister got a phone call from Adrian, during which he told her that Shanita was having an affair. Hours later, around noon, she said she got another call from Adrian Lewis where he told her that they got into a fight and that Shanita jumped out of the truck near Jefferson Avenue and Harpersville Road. The criminal complaint says a police review of cameras did not corroborate what Mr. Lewis says happened.
At 12:10 p.m., Shanita’s sister received a text from her sister’s cell phone which continued into a lengthy conversation, just by text. A mutual friend of the couple later told detectives that Adrian confided in him that he sent the texts to Eure-Lewis’ sister from her phone. The same friend told police that the night before Eure-Lewis went missing, that Adrian told him he would kill her if she cheated on him, court documents state.
Around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Shanita’s sister told police she was at a traffic light when spotted Adrian’s truck parked next to a dumpster in a parking lot. She then noticed him placing items in a dumpster. Some of the items collected by police include a shovel with dirt, a brown purse and sandals, both identified as belonging to Shanita.
Police later located Adrian’s truck at a hotel in Hampton.
A person identified as a longtime customer of Adrian spoke with detectives and said that he got a call from Adrian asking him to meet at the hotel to detail the pickup truck. Court documents state that when he went to clean the interior, he noticed blood on the passenger seat, which he said Adrian told him came from his dog which had been shot. Detectives later confirmed both of his dogs were healthy. Adrian asked the man to watch after his truck for a few days; that he was catching a flight.
The documents reveal Adrian had purchased a plane ticket for Jamaica scheduled to depart the day after his wife went missing.
10 On Your Side obtained copies of search warrants which reveal detectives discovered a spent .380 caliber cartridge casing in the truck and ammo in Adrian’s home.
Based on evidence recovered, the case was reclassified to a homicide investigation.
“I want to thank the officers, detectives, forensics staff and other NNPD personnel who have been working tirelessly on this case,” Chief Drew said. “I also want to thank our state and federal partners for their assistance.”
Eure-Lewis’ sister says she is not ready to talk to 10 On Your Side yet, but her co-workers told WAVY of the memories of Shanita. She is described as a beautiful person always there for others.
Shanita worked part-time at C.C. Carter Funeral Home, Inc. in Newport News for nearly a decade.
“She was one that looked out for everyone.”
Pastor Christopher Carter Sr., owner of C.C. Funeral, said he knew something was wrong when her sister called looking for her.
“Shanita‘s not going to leave her kids, she’s not going to just walk away from her children.”
Pastor Carter ministered her, about a week ago.
“One thing about Shanita is she could smile through anything whatever she was going through; she didn’t let anybody know.”
Her coworkers say her husband never showed red flags or signs of abuse.
“People can mask well. Sometimes you don’t see [it]. Certain people show you what they want you to see.”
“Our worst suspicions became a reality.”
Adrian Lewis is expected to be in court Wednesday for a first appearance. 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox will be in the courtroom you can look for updates on WAVY.com.
This is breaking news. This post will be updated.